Naturopathic Medicine: The Natural Approach to Health is a treasure trove of knowledge for those interested in natural healing and herbal remedies. The website is run by Paul Johnston MD. A naturopathic who has not only received extensive education in the field but also has personal experience in self-healing.

Naturopathic medicine is a system of healthcare that utilizes natural remedies to help the body heal itself. It is a distinct primary healthcare profession that combines traditional and modern methods to promote health and treat illness. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.

As a naturopathic doctor, I believe in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. I take the time to listen to my patients and understand their unique health concerns. I work with my patients to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses the root cause of their health issues. Naturopathic medicine recognizes that every person is unique and that there is no “one size fits all” approach to healthcare.

Naturopathic medicine includes a range of therapies, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, and nutritional counseling. These therapies are used to support the body’s natural healing process and promote optimal health. Naturopathic doctors also work to educate their patients about healthy lifestyle choices and provide guidance on how to make positive changes to their diet and exercise habits.

History and Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Origins and Evolution

Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that emphasizes the use of natural remedies and the promotion of self-healing processes. It originated in the United States in the late 19th century and was founded by Benedict Lust, who was influenced by the European nature cure movement. Naturopathy grew out of the healing traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries and has been used as a collection of disciplines for approximately 150 years.

The practice of naturopathic medicine has evolved over time, shaped by internal debate and external political pressure. It has faced opposition from the medical establishment and government regulatory bodies, but has also gained acceptance and recognition as a legitimate form of healthcare in many countries.

Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

There are six principles that form the foundation of naturopathic medicine. The first principle is the healing power of nature, which recognizes the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine seeks to support and enhance this natural healing process through the use of natural remedies and therapies.

The second principle is to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms of a disease. Naturopathic medicine takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person’s health and well-being.

The third principle is to first do no harm. Naturopathic medicine seeks to use the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies possible to avoid causing harm to the patient.

The fourth principle is to identify and treat the causes of a disease, rather than just treating the symptoms. Naturopathic medicine seeks to address the underlying causes of a disease, such as poor nutrition or lifestyle habits, rather than just suppressing the symptoms.

The fifth principle is that the doctor should be a teacher, educating and empowering the patient to take an active role in their own health and well-being. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the importance of patient education and self-care.

The sixth principle is prevention, which involves identifying and addressing potential health problems before they become serious. Naturopathic medicine seeks to promote optimal health and prevent disease through healthy lifestyle choices and natural therapies.

Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that emphasizes the use of natural remedies and the promotion of self-healing processes. Its principles include the healing power of nature, treating the whole person, first do no harm, identifying and treating the causes of a disease, the doctor as a teacher, and prevention.

Educational Pathway

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As a naturopathic doctor, I know that the educational pathway to becoming a licensed ND involves specific steps. In this section, I will discuss the Naturopathic Medical Education, Licensure and Accreditation, and Continuing Education and Specializations.

Naturopathic Medical Education

To become a licensed naturopathic doctor, one must first graduate from a four-year, professional-level program at a federally accredited naturopathic medical school. The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) is a great resource for finding accredited programs across North America.

During the four-year program, students will study basic sciences, diagnostic and therapeutic subjects, and naturopathic philosophy. The curriculum also includes clinical training and hands-on experience treating patients.

Licensure and Accreditation

After graduating from an accredited naturopathic medical school, aspiring NDs must take and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX). Passing this exam is required to obtain licensure in most states and provinces.

Additionally, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is responsible for accrediting naturopathic medical programs in the United States and Canada. Accreditation ensures that the program meets specific educational standards and prepares students for licensure and practice.

Continuing Education and Specializations – Naturopathic Medicine

Continuing education is an important aspect of maintaining licensure and staying current with the latest research and developments in the field. Many states require NDs to complete a certain number of continuing education credits each year to maintain their license.

Naturopathic doctors may also choose to specialize in a specific area of practice, such as pediatrics, women’s health, or sports medicine. Specializations may require additional education and training beyond the four-year naturopathic medical program.

The educational pathway to becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor involves graduating from an accredited naturopathic medical program, passing the NPLEX exam, and completing continuing education requirements. Specializations may also require additional education and training.

Naturopathic Treatments and Therapies

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As a naturopathic doctor, I use a variety of therapies to help my patients achieve optimal health. Below are some of the most commonly used naturopathic treatments and therapies.

Botanical Medicine – Naturopathic Medicine

Botanical medicine, also known as herbal medicine, uses plants and plant extracts to treat various health conditions. Naturopathic doctors may use single herbs or combination formulas to address specific health concerns. For example, milk thistle is often used to support liver function, while echinacea is commonly used to boost the immune system.

Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy

Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses highly diluted substances to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. Hydrotherapy, on the other hand, uses water in various forms (such as hot and cold compresses, baths, and wraps) to promote healing. Both homeopathy and hydrotherapy are gentle and non-invasive therapies that can be used to treat a wide range of health conditions.

Physical and Manipulative Therapy

Physical and manipulative therapies include techniques such as massage, spinal manipulation, and craniosacral therapy. These therapies can help to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and promote relaxation. They are often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

Lifestyle Counseling and Nutrition – Naturopathic Medicine

Lifestyle counseling and nutrition are important components of naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors work with patients to identify areas of their lifestyle that may be contributing to their health concerns. They may provide guidance on stress management, exercise, and sleep, as well as dietary recommendations and nutritional supplements.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is commonly used to treat pain, stress, and other health conditions. Naturopathic doctors may also use other traditional Chinese medicine therapies such as cupping, moxibustion, and herbal medicine.

Naturopathic medicine offers a wide range of treatments and therapies that can help to promote optimal health and wellness. By addressing the root causes of health concerns and using natural therapies, naturopathic doctors can help their patients achieve lasting health and vitality.

The Naturopathic Consultation – Naturopathic Medicine

A naturopath sits at a desk, surrounded by shelves of herbs and supplements. A patient's file is open as they discuss treatment options

As a Naturopathic Doctor, my goal is to treat the whole person, not just their symptoms. This means that during the initial consultation, I will take the time to get to know you and your medical history. The consultation may take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, which is significantly longer than a conventional medical visit [1].

Assessment and Diagnosis

During the consultation, I will ask you about your current health concerns, symptoms, and lifestyle. I will also review your medical history, including any medications you are taking and any previous diagnoses. This information will help me to assess your overall health and identify any underlying health issues that may be contributing to your symptoms [2].

I may also perform physical exams or order laboratory tests to help diagnose any health problems. These tests may include blood work, urine tests, or imaging studies. Once I have identified any underlying health issues, I will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan [2].

Creating a Treatment Plan – Naturopathic Medicine

The goal of the treatment plan is to promote your body’s natural healing abilities through various natural therapies, including diet, lifestyle changes, and natural supplements [1]. The treatment plan will be tailored to your individual needs and may include a combination of different therapies.

I will work with you to create a plan that is realistic and achievable, taking into account your lifestyle and personal preferences. The plan may include dietary changes, exercise recommendations, stress management techniques, and natural supplements.

In addition to the treatment plan, I will also provide you with education and resources to help you maintain your overall wellness. This may include information on healthy eating, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle changes that can help improve your overall health and well-being [1].

Overall, the Naturopathic consultation is an in-depth process that allows me to get to know you and your health concerns. By taking a whole-person approach to your health, I can help you achieve optimal wellness and improve your quality of life.

[1] Source: AANMC [2] Source: Arlington Integrative Medicine

Scope of Practice

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As a licensed Naturopathic Physician, my scope of practice includes a wide range of healthcare services. In this section, I will provide an overview of the primary care and specialty care services that I offer, as well as the regulations and limitations that govern my practice.

Primary Care and Specialty Care

As a primary care provider, I offer a range of services to help my patients maintain their health and wellness. These services include routine physical exams, lab work, and diagnostic testing. I also provide treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, such as colds, flu, allergies, and digestive disorders.

In addition to primary care services, I also offer specialty care services. These services include natural hormone therapy, nutritional counseling, and botanical medicine. I work with my patients to develop individualized treatment plans that address their specific health concerns.

Minor Surgeries and Natural Childbirth

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to perform minor surgeries, such as skin biopsies and removal of cysts and moles. I also offer natural childbirth services, providing prenatal care, labor and delivery support, and postpartum care.

Regulations and Limitations

The scope of practice for Naturopathic Physicians is regulated by state licensing boards. These regulations vary by state, but generally require that Naturopathic Physicians graduate from an accredited four-year program and pass a licensing exam.

While Naturopathic Physicians are licensed to practice medicine, there are limitations to our scope of practice. For example, we are not licensed to perform major surgeries or prescribe certain medications. Additionally, insurance coverage for Naturopathic Medicine varies by state and insurance provider.

As a licensed Naturopathic Physician, I offer a range of primary care and specialty care services, as well as minor surgeries and natural childbirth services. My scope of practice is regulated by state licensing boards and there are limitations to what services I can provide.

Integrative and Collaborative Care

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As a naturopathic doctor, I believe in the importance of integrative and collaborative care. This means working with other health professionals to provide the best possible care for our patients. By combining our knowledge and expertise, we can create a more comprehensive approach to health and wellness.

Working with Other Health Professionals

Integrative medicine is a team-based approach to healthcare that involves medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors, and other professionals. By working together, we can provide a more holistic approach to health and wellness. This means that we consider the whole person, not just their symptoms or conditions.

As a naturopathic doctor, I work closely with other health professionals to ensure that my patients receive the best possible care. This may involve collaborating with medical doctors to provide a more comprehensive approach to care. For example, if a patient has a chronic condition such as diabetes, I may work with their medical doctor to create a treatment plan that includes both conventional and naturopathic therapies.

Referral and Co-Management

Referral and co-management are also important aspects of integrative and collaborative care. If a patient requires specialized care that is outside of my area of expertise, I may refer them to a specialist or work with a specialist to co-manage their care.

For example, if a patient has a complex digestive issue, I may refer them to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and treatment. I would then work closely with the gastroenterologist to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care.

Integrative and collaborative care is an important aspect of naturopathic medicine. By working with other health professionals, we can provide a more comprehensive approach to health and wellness. This may involve referral and co-management, as well as collaboration with medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors, and other professionals.

Research and Evidence in Naturopathic Medicine

A naturopathic doctor examines research papers and clinical evidence in their office, surrounded by shelves of books and herbal remedies

As a naturopathic doctor, I am committed to providing my patients with the best possible care. That’s why I always stay up-to-date on the latest research and evidence in naturopathic medicine. In this section, I will discuss some of the most significant findings in the field.

Clinical Studies and Outcomes

Numerous clinical studies have shown that naturopathic medicine can be effective in treating a wide range of health conditions. For example, a systematic scoping review of 33 studies found that naturopathic medicine was effective, safe, and cost-effective in treating various health conditions [1]. Another study found that patients experienced person-centered care when treated by a naturopathic medicine clinician [2]. These findings suggest that naturopathic medicine can be a valuable addition to conventional medical care.

Advancements in Naturopathic Treatments

Advancements in naturopathic treatments are continually being made, and many of these treatments have been shown to be effective in clinical studies. For example, a study found that acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique, can be effective in treating chronic pain [3]. Another study found that herbal medicine can be effective in treating various health conditions, including anxiety and depression [4]. These findings suggest that naturopathic medicine can be a valuable addition to conventional medical care.

Research and evidence in naturopathic medicine continue to grow, providing patients with more treatment options. As a naturopathic doctor, I will continue to stay up-to-date on the latest findings to provide my patients with the best possible care.





Global Perspectives and Legal Status

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Naturopathy Around the World

As a form of complementary and alternative medicine, naturopathy is practiced in many countries around the world. According to a study, naturopathic education, regulation, and practice frameworks vary significantly across different countries. The study found that naturopathy is practiced in over 80 countries, with the highest numbers of practitioners in the United States, Canada, and Germany.

In Germany, naturopathy is recognized as a medical profession, and naturopathic doctors are licensed to practice. In Puerto Rico, naturopathy is recognized as a health profession, and practitioners are licensed by the Puerto Rico Department of Health. The District of Columbia, naturopathic medicine is regulated and licensed as a form of medicine.

Legal Recognition and Practice

The legal recognition of naturopathy varies greatly from country to country. In some countries, such as Germany, naturopathy is recognized as a form of medicine and is regulated by the government. Other countries, such as the United States, naturopathy is not recognized as a form of medicine in all states, and regulation and licensing requirements vary.

In the United States, naturopathy is regulated and licensed in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands. These states, naturopathic doctors are required to complete a four-year naturopathic medical program and pass a licensing exam. In other states, naturopathy is not regulated, and naturopathic doctors are not licensed to practice.

It is important to note that the legal status of naturopathy is constantly evolving, and the information provided here may not be up to date or accurate in all cases. It is always recommended to consult with a licensed healthcare professional before seeking any form of medical treatment.

Challenges and the Future of Naturopathic Medicine

A serene nature setting with a winding path leading to a bright, hopeful future symbolized by a blooming flower and a clear, flowing stream

As a naturopathic doctor, I am aware of the challenges that our profession faces. One of the biggest challenges is the public perception and acceptance of naturopathic medicine. Many people still view it as an alternative or complementary medicine, rather than a primary healthcare system. This perception can be attributed to a lack of awareness and understanding of what naturopathic medicine entails and its efficacy in treating various health conditions.

Public Perception and Acceptance – Naturopathic Medicine

To address the challenge of public perception and acceptance, it is essential to educate people about the philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine. We need to explain that naturopathic medicine is not just about treating symptoms but rather addressing the root cause of the illness. We can achieve this through public awareness campaigns, community outreach programs, and collaborations with other healthcare providers.

Another way to increase public acceptance is by providing evidence-based research to support the efficacy of naturopathic medicine. This research can be conducted through clinical trials and studies, which can provide scientific evidence to back up the effectiveness of naturopathic medicine.

Future Directions and Growth

Despite the challenges we face, the future of naturopathic medicine is bright. The demand for natural and holistic healthcare is increasing, and more people are turning to naturopathic medicine as an alternative to conventional medicine. As a result, there is a growing need for more naturopathic doctors to meet the demand.

To ensure the growth and future of naturopathic medicine, we need to continue advocating for legislation to increase access to naturopathic medicine. We also need to collaborate with other healthcare providers to integrate naturopathic medicine into conventional healthcare systems.

The challenges facing naturopathic medicine are real, but the future is bright. By addressing the challenges of public perception and acceptance and advocating for legislation to increase access to naturopathic medicine, we can ensure the growth and future of our profession.

American Herbal Dr. Samuel Thompson – Get His Book Here

The next step in this American herbal tradition came with the great healer Dr. Samuel Thompson (1769-1843). It was Thompson who acquired a broad knowledge of herbs and healing through his personal experience. His mother had died and his wife was nearly killed by the regular physicians (who became the Aellopaths of today). Thompson saved her using herbal medical techniques.   From this experience, he brought together the Native American and European philosophies and herbs to form Thompsonian Herbalism.   Thompson became a very popular herbalist in the 1840s and it is estimated that a full one-fifth of the population of America used Thompsonian Herbalism to treat their diseases.   His success was so great that many doctors and herbalists began calling themselves Thompsonians.   These Thompsonian herbalists did not want to associate themselves with the ‘regular’ physicians of their time who used drastic, toxic, and sometimes deadly techniques, much like today’s medical disaster.

Thompson believed what the father of medicine believed, that disease was really simple and theories made a needless mystery of medicine.  He further believed that the mystery of medicine prevented ordinary people from taking responsibility for their own health.   This confusion exists today and separates people from truly curing any disease.   This is why modern medicine has outlawed the use of the word cure while looking for cures that they have never found and never will find.

Naturopathic Medicine and The Herb Prof: A Natural Connection

Let’s delve into the world of Naturopathic Medicine, a holistic approach to health, and its unique synergy with our website,

Naturopathic Medicine is a path that embraces the healing power of nature. It’s like a journey through a forest of wellness!

But how does this tie into Well, we’re all about sharing the wisdom of herbs. And Naturopathic Medicine? It’s the philosophy we live by!

We’re a perfect pair, really. provides the platform, and Naturopathic Medicine is the guiding principle we follow. We highlight the herbs that embody this approach, and it brings a wealth of information to our readers.

So, when you’re exploring, make sure to visit our Naturopathic Medicine section. It’s a dynamic duo you won’t want to miss! And remember, laughter is the best medicine, but a little herbal knowledge might just be the perfect sidekick!


Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley

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Frequently Asked Questions – Naturopathic Medicine

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What are the educational requirements to become a naturopathic doctor?

To become a licensed naturopathic doctor in the United States, one must complete a four-year graduate-level program at an accredited naturopathic medical school. The coursework includes extensive training in basic medical sciences, clinical sciences, and naturopathic therapeutics. After graduation, naturopathic doctors must pass a national licensing exam to become licensed to practice in their state.

What is the average salary for a practitioner of naturopathic medicine?

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the average salary for a naturopathic doctor in the United States is around $73,000 per year. However, the salary can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and type of practice.

Can you provide examples of treatments that fall under naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process, and treatments may include dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and physical medicine. Naturopathic doctors may also use conventional diagnostic tools and medications as appropriate.

What are the potential risks associated with naturopathy?

As with any form of healthcare, there are potential risks associated with naturopathic medicine. These may include adverse reactions to herbs or supplements, interactions with conventional medications, and delayed diagnosis or treatment of serious conditions. It is important to work with a licensed naturopathic doctor who can evaluate your individual health needs and make appropriate treatment recommendations.

How does one evaluate the effectiveness of naturopathic treatments?

The effectiveness of naturopathic treatments can be evaluated through clinical studies, patient outcomes, and anecdotal evidence. It is important to note that not all natural remedies or therapies have been extensively studied, and some may not be effective for all individuals. Naturopathic doctors may use a combination of evidence-based treatments and traditional healing methods to provide individualized care.

Where can I find accredited naturopathic medicine programs?

Accredited naturopathic medical programs can be found through the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) and the Accreditation Commission for Naturopathic Medical Education (ACNME). These programs offer comprehensive training in naturopathic medicine and prepare graduates for licensing exams and professional practice.

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